A mother of two teenage boys with autism said Scott Morrison was partly right to say he was blessed his children weren’t born with disabilities.
Brianna Blackett, from western Sydney, penned a fiery blog in response to the Prime Minister’s awkward comments during the election debate.
Ms Blackett said if Mr Morrison meant that it’s a blessing to not face huge daily hurdles in education, housing, income and health, then he’s right.
Mr Morrison was asked about removing funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) during Wednesday night’s Leaders’ Debate on Wednesday.
Brianna Blackett, a Sydney mum with two boys with autism, penned a fiery blog in response to the Prime Minister’s awkward comments during the election debate
Scott Morrison fluffed his lines answering a question about the NDIS during the leaders’ debate when he suggested he was ‘blessed’ to not have children with disabilities
Responding to a question about the future of the NDIS, Morrison said ‘Jenny and I have been blessed. We’ve got two children who haven’t had to go through that.’
After a day at The Sydney Family Show at Moore Park with Max, 15, and Freddie, 13, Ms Blackett admitted she couldn’t sleep out of frustration with the comment – so she started writing a response.
In a blog for disability support platform HireUp, she slammed the narrative that life is better if your kids are fully able children as ‘tired and ignorant’.
Her blog, titled ‘Scott Morrison suggests that I have not been blessed because I have disabled children. Here’s where he got it right’ went viral online.
She told Daily Mail Australia that Mr Morrison may have got one thing right if he meant it’s a blessing not to face the daily challenges posed by disabilities.
Max Blackett (pictured) has autism and is non-speaking but Briana Blackett says both her boys are the greatest blessings in her life
In the blog she wrote, ‘I thought, perhaps Scott Morrison is right. There are many times I have felt ‘unblessed’ since my children were diagnosed.’
Both her sons Max and Freddie have ‘high support needs’ and Max is ‘non-speaking’.
She listed those times, which included painful rejections from schools including teachers and principals, and from government funding and housing bodies.
‘I did not feel blessed when a school principal told me he did not think he would be happy to have his own son in the same class as mine,’ she said.
‘I did not feel blessed when an NDIS planner told me my children ‘weren’t worth the investment’.
‘I did not feel blessed when the preschool revoked my son’s enrolment when I told him he was being assessed for autism. Despite having vacancies, they had apparently already filled their ‘quota’ of disabled children.
‘I do not feel blessed when I look at housing options for my children and realise they may be safer never leaving home.’
Ms Blackett concedes its understandable for someone to feel ‘blessed’ not to face the issues other families do – but she says the Prime Minister voicing that actually makes life harder by suggesting disability is ‘a problem’.
‘Once again, the lives of my children, who do have disability, have been devalued,’ she wrote. ‘Their existence, again, not being seen as worthy of celebration. A blessing.’
After a day at The Sydney Family Show at Moore Park with Max, 15, and Freddie, 13, Ms Blackett admitted she couldn’t sleep out of frustration – so she started writing a response
Ms Blackett told Daily Mail Australia that the narrative that its better not to have children with disabilities is ‘tired and ignorant’ and reduces opportunities for children, making them feel unworthy
‘The problem is everyone else’s problem with disability,’ she told Daily Mail Australia. ‘When society has a problem it becomes a problem for people with disability.
‘If [Morrison] is referring to the difficulties that come with trying to exist in the mainstream world with systems we have created whilst having a disability, then for sure, I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone.’
‘What he got right is that for people without disability don’t have to experience any of these things – being locked out, shut down, turned away, neglected and abused.’
Ms Blackett said she’d heard Morrison had backed down and said he was referring to the difficulties others faced.
But she believes it ‘speaks volumes’ that Morrison, with his excellent instinct for communications, could so easily slip up on comments about people with disabilities.
‘He wouldn’t dare say ‘I count my blessings that my kids were not born gay or indigenous’, he would be too aware to do that, it speaks to a bigger issue of how people with disability are viewed.
‘The fact it didn’t dawn on him that wouldn’t be a good look speaks volumes.
‘I cant speak to exactly what he meant when he said blessed as he’s a religious man might mean different things, but I know it offends people like me because it makes me feel like my children are not worthy of celebration and not considered to be a blessing, and of course to me they are, 100 per cent.’
‘Once again, the lives of my children, who do have disability, have been devalued. Their existence, again, not being seen as worthy of celebration. A blessing.’